Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Herculaneum Bring a Subtle Form of Modernism to Light

I never heard any Herculaneum until recently, when I happily received their Herculaneum III (Clean Feed) for review. I'm glad that happened. They are a mid-sized jazz ensemble, with a lineup of guitar (John Beard), alto/clarinet (David Mcdonnell), trombone (Nick Broste), trumpet/fluegel (Partick Newbery), flute (Nate Lepine), bass (Greg Danek) and drums (Dylan Ryan). All the principals solo well, with taste and skill. Yet it is the charts, the vast majority by Ryan, where the group really excels.

The compositions/arrangements sometimes suggest a modern equivalent to Jimmy Giuffre, when the ensemble routines carefully map out the role of each instrument, including the drummer. Other times there just seems to be plenty of musical meat on the structural bones. Ensemble passages of a brilliant sort compete for at least equal time with soloists, so that every minute of this CD brings you eventful, very very solid modern music.

I am impressed with Herculaneum. Their third CD should not be missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment